“There’s no such thing as perfect so just be real”
Last time on the blog, I admitted that things have changed in the way I didn’t anticipate. While this still isn’t a parenting blog, the topic has snuck its way into several posts throughout the past few months, because I write my best when it’s what I know.
Now that I’ve made it clear I can’t help but write about this new thing in my life called parenting, while remaining true to my love of writing about all-things wellness, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to really combine the two.
Throughout the past ten-plus years of my wellness journey, I’ve learned a lot. Throughout the last five-plus months of my parenting journey, I’ve learned a…little bit.
Here are five things I’ve learned that are true to both wellness and new parenting.
Do What’s Best for You
The Keto diet. Meditation. Crossfit. There are a ton of wellness activities out there. At least one person swears by each one and raves that it’s the best or only solution. That’s simply untrue. What works for one person might not work for another – or, quite frankly, might not be of interest at all. You have to do what’s best for you; what makes you happiest and helps you achieve goals.
The same is true in parenting. Just because sleep training worked wonders for your friend and her baby doesn’t mean it’s the right strategy for you and yours. Someone might tell you to wait three hours in between feedings but, some days (or weeks), your baby might be hungry every hour. You have to do what’s best for you; what makes your baby happiest and thriving.
Trust Your Gut
There have been times I’ve wanted to skip a workout, not due to laziness or lack of interest, but because something just didn’t feel right. I’ve learned that it’s best to trust this feeling – forgo the workout and move on to the next day.
The same is true in parenting. Every child is different and none come with an instruction manual. While there’s no shortage of articles out there on every parenting question imaginable, sometimes you simply have to trust your gut. As a first-time parent, I didn’t do this nearly enough in the earlier weeks of my son’s life and, looking back, I should have. I may not know what I’m doing but I know him. Now, I trust my gut on most things.
Embrace the Suck
Some days, trying to eat your best just sucks and, worse, indulging and having a day that makes you feel badly about yourself can suck just as bad. But neither one is the worst because tomorrow’s a new day to get back at it. Some days, a workout is going to suck (um, hello long training run that is so awful it makes me cry), or even just one part of a workout (yep, I’m looking at you, lunges). But they’re worth powering through because they teach us something and make us stronger. Embrace that suck!
The same is true in parenting. I think most parents would agree, as wonderful as it is having a child, there are some moments that honestly suck. As badly as I wanted my son and grateful I am for him, there were moments I thought he was broken, or he effing peed all over both of us again, or I was just too exhausted to properly function through any of it. Looking back on it, I learned from every one of the low moments, the things that just sucked. And I think the experiences make me a better mother. Embrace that suck – because, at their simplest, getting peed on is actually kind of funny. Parents of boys, you feel me.
Celebrate the Good
Maybe you didn’t PR at your last race but you just made it through 20 minutes on the Stairmaster (or whatever cardio you loathe most).
Maybe you didn’t meal prep for the whole week but you hardboiled eggs and cut up veggies for easy snacking.
It’s easy to forget these small things really matter. It’s easy to brush them aside, only concentrating on where you fell short. Acknowledge and applaud yourself for those small victories because the small things really matter.
The same is true in parenting. My son wasn’t sleeping through the night at seven weeks like some babies but I remember a day it took less than 10 minutes to get him down for a nap. I gave myself a mental high-five and it encouraged me to keep working on his sleep. Celebrate those little golden moments.
The Power of Sleep
Gwen Jorgensen, the Olympic gold medalist, newly-turned marathoner, and mom of one-year-old Stanley, is one of my idols. In addition to sharing life as a working mom and mother runner, she often shares one of the biggest parts of her training: sleep. Whether it’s a long afternoon nap after a tough workout or getting enough zzzs at night, sleep is an important part of wellness, both mentally and physically.
The same is true in parenting – though, I know how ironic I’m being, as sleep is basically nonexistent the first few weeks, even months of parenting (and likely, years). What I’m talking about is the importance of sleep for babies. My son was not a good sleeper in his early weeks. He was often cranky and overtired because he wasn’t one of those babies who would just sleep when he needed to, I had to work really hard to teach him to fall asleep and get a schedule established so he would learn when it was time to sleep. While he sleeps like a champ at night now, getting him there, and naptime in general, is often still a struggle for us. But I know how important it is so it’s worth it. And good sleep for him means good sleep for us parents!
In what areas of your life does wellness seem to coincide? Comment below or tweet me @LindsayIRL.